PITTSFIELD — First, there was Eli Bussell, who as a sophomore contributed to Maine Central Institute’s run to the Little Ten Conference 2014 title. Last year, he was joined by younger brother Seth, who as a freshman was plugged into the starting lineup when injuries began to mount, helping the Huskies win a second straight conference title in 2015. Now, there’s Isaac, a freshman who hasn’t seen the same amount of playing time as his older brothers, but who is beginning to contribute to another deep playoff run at MCI.

With the Huskies preparing to play the LTC championship game Friday night against Dexter, it’s safe to say a Bussell will be a key to MCI’s success.

“Eli’s been a big part of this whole thing since the moment he got here. Seth stepped in as a freshman, he was one of those kids who was ready to play,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “Isaac on most other teams would be getting significant minutes. He plays some special teams for us and is starting to work into the defensive line rotation.”

Family ties are nothing new at MCI. Last year, Alex and Adam Bertrand were keys to the Huskies’ success while playing for their father. This season, the Bussell brothers are joined by a trio of Moss brothers, senior Willie, junior Zyanthony, and freshman Xavier.

“We played a little bit together when we were younger, but this is another feeling, because it’s high school. It’s just different,” Eli said.

Added Seth: “It’s pretty cool. Not many kids get to do that.”

This season, the older Bussell brothers have been keys on both sides of the ball. At home, there’s sibling rivalry. On the field, that’s gone.

“Something always happens, and we argue. It’s just brotherly love, I guess,” Seth said.

Added Eli: “We’re competitive every day.”

Eli leads the Huskies in rushing. He ran for a team-high 810 yards and nine touchdowns in the regular season, and he added another touchdown in a 41-8 semifinal win over Bucksport. Often, Eli and the other MCI backs are running through a hole created by Seth, the Huskies left guard. The brothers’ efforts helped MCI average 364.9 yards per game in the regular season. A converted fullback, Seth is new to the offensive line but has fit right in.

“We do a lot of stuff where we’re pulling guards and trapping,” Bertrand said. “Seth’s a fullback that we’ve got up on the line. In another year, I don’t know if he’ll be on the line or if he’ll be back there. He’s certainly athletic enough, and I like having those big fullbacks, obviously. Now, it’s a lot of times we’re trying to get that Bussell combination going.”.

“I have a lot of faith in him. We’ve done this since we were little. He’s great to run behind,” Eli said of his brother.

Defensively, Seth and Eli are the backbone of a unit that allows just over 200 yards and 10 points per game and forced 16 turnovers in the regular season.

“The middle of the defense is pretty solid again this year,” Bertrand said.

A middle linebacker, Eli had 98 tackles (60 solo) and two interceptions in the regular season. At nose guard, Seth had 59 tackles (30 solo).

“I line up right behind him. He’ll get through the line, and he’ll wrap him up, or he’ll create space and I’ll get the tackle,” Eli said.

Their best game may have been the regular season game at Dexter, a 36-2 win. Seth had four tackles for a loss, while Eli had two sacks and broke up a pass. The Tigers gained just 5 yards in the game and struggled to move the ball the entire afternoon.

“It’s fun when I have a guy wrapped up and he comes in for the cleanup shot,” Seth said.

MCI football is really a family passion for the Bussells. Their father, Corey, is an assistant coach, along with their uncle, Bob. Cousin Briar was a captain and key lineman on the 2013 team.

“They’re just very good kids and excellent football players. I’m sorry to see we’ll be losing Eli, but excited to see Seth and Isaac for at least a couple more years,” Bertrand said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM